Social Networks, Activists’ Opium? Citizen Media Should Make Stronger Connections Offline

In this detailed piece, Mahdi picks apart the Moroccan digital activism scene, explaining that while successful activism can have an online component, the best organization happens offline. Find out if you agree.

French version of this essay is available here.

By

Young Moroccan engineer and activist 61 comments

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010


Hey you stupid facebook activist! Log out and come join us offline, on the ground if you dare!” This is how a member of a Moroccan NGO answered one of the most famous, so-called Moroccan “digital activists” in one of those long Facebook commenting discussions.

As an offline activist who decided to bring online the causes I am advocating for, I strongly believe that on-the-ground advocacy needs online support and mediation. But as far as I am concerned by the so called ‘digital activism’, my observations of these last couple of years of Web 2.0 usage among my limited–but quite diverse–networks put me on the opposite side of those who are fantasizing about ‘Twitter Revolutions’ and ‘YouTube transparency’.

Though there is no need to say how personal and biased my point of view is, I will try to support it with some examples, not to deny any hope of social media’s impact on activism in Morocco, but to argue that digital activism should come from offline on-the-ground activism; otherwise, it will stay a fictive activism that, instead of bringing people to concrete advocacy, will sequester them in a Don Quixote spiral of electronic struggles in the “most important political party in Morocco”.

1) Iranian elections, Egypt’s 06 April movement and online hopes

One year after the Iranian controversial elections, I have a large smile when I remember Mark Pfeifle -American former deputy and national security adviser for strategic communications and global outreach at the National Security Council from 2007 to 2009- suggesting a Nobel Peace Prize for Twitter. Iranian events were indeed the source for many fantasies of social media’s power; Hamid Tehrani, GVO’s Iran editor, estimates that there were fewer than 1000 active Twitter users in Iran during the elections, he moderates saying that “Twitter was important in publicizing what was happening, but its role was overemphasized” and “Some people did provide updates from Tehran, but many didn’t check out. When someone tweeted that there were 700,000 people demonstrating in front of a mosque, it turned out that only around 7,000 people showed up.”  ThoughIranian events gave a lot of hope about the potential of the Web 2.0 in general, we should not then focus on the means–the technology–and forget the aim, and that is exactly what Tehrani is pointing out: “The west was focused not on the Iranian people but on the role of western technology.”

The other important online uprising we can call to mind before tackling the Moroccan case is the Egyptian 6 April movement, which is considered as the first trial for an Arab online movement moving on the ground, yet their movement impacted many political parties that rallied it. What we can learn from this experience is that social media is a threat to authoritarian regimes if and only if they go on the ground, as we can understand from Ahmed Naji. But does social media succeed in mobilization on the ground?

II) Moroccan online activism going to the ground

Mainly encouraged by the Facebook democratization–I remind the new Facebook users that in early years, an ‘name@university.edu’ address was the passport to Zuckerberg’s web site–the online activism stated to experience taking people’s online thoughts to the ground, but till now no real efficiency is observed: the phenomenon can be analyzed through these examples:

1. The MALI movement for individual liberties:
Starting with a Facebook group, it tried first to organize a collective fast-breaking, just a few activists were at the meeting but as some reported; there were more police agents than activists. MALI tried another offline action last month: a demonstration against sexual harassment, again, very few activists and easy neutralization for police. Nevertheless, the MALI has succeeded in highlighting on a debate, which many avoided to start about individual freedoms.

2. The “All against the Prime Minister’s family” Movement:
Unlike the few members of the MALI’s facebook group–many of them just to insult the movement–this group was joined by some 20,000 Facebookers, it planned a demonstration in front of the parliament which was canceled without real explanation from the group members…We can maybe try to compare this with the failure of the Tunisian Ammar 404 campaign to go on the ground.

3. The demonstration against the Minister of Communication:
This last example on the ground was followed on Facebook, but at the event, some 11 or a little more people were present as we see in this video, the same video that was seen for 28000 times, the video of the minister which is the origin of this uprising was seen about 300,000 times.

4) “No mobile phone day” protest against call costs:
It is hard to evaluate the impact in this case as only phone companies know how many people really switched off their phones in May the 30th as this campaign invited them to do. This uprising had around 35,000 Facebook supporters, a letter to the Minister Reda Chami, and to the ANRT (Telecom Regulation National Agency ) will be written in collaboration with some consumers associations, and a « week without charging phone credits » is planned to be the next step.

III) Moroccan off line activism going on line via social media:

With a quite weak visibility, some classical agents of activism (NGOs, political parties, Islamist movements, etc…) are joining social media, mainly Facebook. In Twitter, till now only two political parties have an account, followed by fewer than 200 users each, and very few politicians have an account, we are still far from the four million followers of Obama, the one million two hundred thousand for Queen Rania or the five hundred thousand followers of Hugo Chavez.

NGOs are also trying to make their way through social media, yet I think it is too early to evaluate the situation. But from my point of view, NGOs going online should have more success than pure online-built activism trying to do it the opposite way (as described in previous paragraph). Activism should come from off line and try to use social media for up rising. From a very personal experience: in the earth day tree planting operation in Ajdir northern Morocco, around 500 people were present in the operation, almost all of them knew about it via street and door to door, nearly no one was coming in answer to the different calls online, which prove how beginner we still are in uprising on the web.
Also to note that in Morocco, other efficient Tools such as SMS up rising are just unknown!

And a last point to note, we can blame NGOs and some political parties for using massively internal mailing lists which often turn to a messy confused exchange, mixing pure internal information and sympathizers informing and reducing the efficiency of both, instead of having a web site with an external newsletter and a ‘clean’ internal mailing lists.

IV) Graph theory on social networks: activists are orbiting in disconnected parallel worlds in social media… Neither the leftist sees the Adlist(a) networks nor the Istiqlalians(b) exchange with the Nahjists(c)!
a: From ‘Al Adl wal Ihssane’ an islamist movement with political agenda but not a political party.
b: Istiqlal party : conservative party, actual prime minister’s party.
c: Annahjaddimoucrati : the democratic way, left wings, does not participate in the elections

Intuition is essential in mathematics; this part of the essay presents personal intuitions inspired from graph theory and “small world network” about how information spread trough social networks. This is though the most biased paragraph, as I am not a mathematician, my basic knowledge of topology and graph theory might lead me to wrong intuitions, moreover I had neither the time to look on specialized literature nor the access to sources that can offer serious scientific works on social networks during my writing period. I hope the example presented below can lead to some first understanding, preliminary ideas or just curiosity, and i would be happy if some comments provide deeper works in this field.

When defending romanticist positions on social media’s power, many forget that networks such as Facebook can be in some extreme cases real disconnecting tools!

Let us consider the “Friend Wheel” above, this is a Facebook application that shows you your Facebook ‘friends’ and the links between them. I distinguished in this example two parts CC A, and CC B (Connected Component see: University of Berkley/Vazirani for ‘strong connected component’) and CC-B/o which is a subpart of CC-B and finally the two yellow lines I added for a more general case.

CC-A can be seen as the group of your friends with whom you just exchange pure personal informations, they can be colleagues, school mates, family, etc.
CC-B can represent the group with whom you are “politically linked” (supposed that you have a Facebook profile where you have important political exchanges), the main part of CC-B might represent your affinity group of contacts who are strongly linked to each others, then the CC-B/o are some people from a different political view but who are so to say ‘meeting your side’, and finally, the two yellow lines could be two of your friends who are now sympathizers or activists of a diametrical opposite political view or ideology (two Salafist friends from childhood of a very liberal, to make it concrete).

Now that we made clear what these groups might represent, we wonder then how information spread through one’s connected component. As one should have noticed, when you have some hundreds of Facebook friends, you do not see all their updates in your timeline like on Twitter, but little by little, some Facebook algorithms–for which I did not found public details–evaluate who you are going to see more in your timeline, certainly by taking in consideration the amount of posts you ‘liked’ or commented from each contact, and more simply by hiding the posts of those you chooses to hide. A conclusion would be that after a while of ‘liking’ and ‘hiding’ you would see only your affinity group on your Facebook timeline, simplistic I agree, but enough for me to break the myth pretending that facebook is making closer links between different views.
Other aspect of graph-theory-inspired vision consists in looking at at a facebook member in a flat graph instead of putting his friends in a wheel, and then we can distinguish to examples of profiles:
• Person with high degree, a good model for outstanding Bloggers accounts for example. They are often followed by some thousands of people getting information from them.

• Single person, low degree high connectivity, can represent people using facebook to get and forward some links and news related to some of their beliefs or causes

A mixture between these two kind of actors would then look like this:

It would be good to have a vision of how would the CC-A and CC-B components introduced in the ‘Friend Wheel’ approach look like in this flat graph representation, but without internal Facebook data or equivalent mapping, any trial would be even more speculative than what I tried in the lines bellow. These three graphs are not as representative of a real case as the friend wheel bellow, but they give a starting point for another model.

V) Quick words out of topic

1. Self censure the worst enemy of freedom of speech:
As I have not contributed in December Forum, I would like to put a word about freedom of expression, just to say that as citizen media are harder to censure than classic ones, the only way to profit from the potential of freedom of speech using citizen media is to force the classical boundaries’ ourselves. Freedom of speech fears more from self-censure than from regimes’ censure!

2. Moroccan “Bloggers association”:
The people behind this association (not yet recognized) are doing a good job regarding Bloggers freedom of expression. But the name they are planning to give for their association is obviously absurd: a Blogger is by nature a free electron, as said in another article, we have not asked for anyone’s permission before opening a blog, and any attempt to represent bloggers has no sense.

I would support them if their project keeps being providing help to bloggers (what they are already doing well), but not if they pretend to provide any representative role for bloggers, which makes me ask them to kindly change the name of their association.

Other point, I would really like to have an explanation of how the number ‘80,000 bloggers’ was estimated by the association. Did they just fantasize some estimations as did our friend Larbi.org in his early days 😉

3. e-PAM(c), 50 cents party?
Citizen media and other free web 2.0 tools are obviously giving opportunity to organizations that had not access to classic media to build –for free- their own communication. If Islamists like Al Adl are doing it quite good with their web site and their on line TV-channel, other groups seem to be not yet efficient in using the web 2.0. The Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) has, for example, an official web site that is less frequently updated than its Facebook group, which is not good because many Facebook users may fear of joining the AMDH group and making it appear in their profile, that make the AMDH reaching less people, or as said in IV orbiting in a narrow connected component, between AMDH sympathizer who are already convinced, instead of reaching new potential sympathizers.

The other case is the PAM, massively using its Facebook page to post all updates retrieved from newspapers about the party, this can seem absurd when we consider the facility this party has to get access to classic medias. The PAM is then taking benefit from the citizen media to behave like a Chinese fifty cents party?

We wonder then if citizen media, instead of bridging the gap, is making it larger?

(c): Authenticity and Modernity Party, founded by Fouad Ali El Himma, former secretary at the ministry of the interior.

4. Arabic Blogs – French Blogs
As said at IV for believes that does not meet on Facebook, Arabic blogs and French blogs seem to be disconnected from each other in the blogosphere, some prominent French bloggers do not know about some outstanding Arabic blogs, which gives them quite a superficial idea about the so-called Blogoma.

Some explain this duality of blogosphere by the duality of French-mission-schools/Arabic-public-schools; some go on with more clichéd explanations, thinking that it is a modernism/conservatism duality. I think this a very simplistic explanation, as very few French bloggers among the known ones come from French-mission schools. I personally don’t yet know a blogger trained in Lycée Descartes or Lycée Lyautey, and would give a partial explanation to the phenomenon more by the academic background of the blogger : after high school in Morocco, if you go to a technological or scientific program, French becomes your daily working and studying language (which is in my opinion an aberration), at the opposite, most human science courses are in Arabic. I am personally turning my blogging back into Arabic as I am getting used to writing again in Arabic, but seven years of daily academic use or French has made me write in French, more because it was easy for me at that time than because I wanted to reach Francophone readers.

PS : While writing this essay, the PAM has launched its new web site, looking quite professional compared to other party’s web sites -we can even join the party filing an on line application!-, may be the this was made by professionals instead of militants like for other party’s, but we can now say definitely that after being more present in classic medias, the PAM is mastering the alternative medias. Other political organisations should react by improving their on line face, instead of complaining about the PAM’s ease in reaching all the media.

Swirly divider
  • Share on Twitter
  • Facebook
  • E-mail
  • Google Reader
  • Permalink

61 comments on “Social Networks, Activists’ Opium? Citizen Media Should Make Stronger Connections Offline”

  1. Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article


    • I did not expected that the few applied maths vocabulary used in this article would attract forex robots… 😀

      Hope my modest article would not be helpful only for financial speculation^^


  2. I depends what one is militating for. For some, the priority lies in a powerless monarch and a secular state. And going offline has the potential to land them in jail.


    • Maybe said activists should start with something closer to home, like planting trees as Mahdi says in his post, or a literacy campaign, or getting a better souq for the vegetable vendors. First steps like these create a sense of citizen empowerment, and build links within the community based on concrete results. Where to go next should be determined by the community themselves (as Chicago-based organizer Saul Alinsky outlines in Rules for Radicals).

      It does seem that organizers won’t be able to reach the average Moroccan with her practical concerns by limiting their activism to the internet. The internet may be useful for coordinating among the activists themselves, but to reach the community they’ll need to use word of mouth, door to door or in small groups.

      On the other hand, if there were a lot of these small, community-based activities, the internet would be a great place to make them aware of each other, so they could share ideas and find mutual inspiration.

      I wonder if some of the causes Mahdi mentioned, like public fast-breaking during Ramadan, weren’t badly chosen. That event always struck me as mostly a publicity stunt aimed at the Western media. I mean, how does it help your typical working mother, who is struggling to feed her children and pay her electric bills?

      The other examples given, against Nociri or the al-Fassi family, are better, but they are still reactive rather than proactive, responding to events in the news rather than creating them. And their “targets” are too far away from the daily lives of most people. Even if you managed to get rid of a couple of overprivileged politicians, there are plenty of others waiting to take their place!

      This kind of “feel-good, celebrity” activism doesn’t address concrete needs. Maslow’s pyramid tells us that we all need to satisfy basic needs first, like food, shelter, and health, before moving on to more abstract concerns like self-esteem or empowerment. So I agree with what Mahdi is saying, that activism should begin on the ground, and root itself in people’s daily lives.


      • You’re shameless to compare the right to get your children fed by the state to the ban on public eating in ramadan. Shameless!

        You sit there with your most BASIC rights respected and you dare tell people who had the misfortune to be of Muslim descent in Morocco that helping the working mother is more important than something as trivial as their freedom to pick their faith! All respect I had for you just disappeared. What shaky morals grounds you have!

        Go tell everyone fighting for civil rights that their causes are badly chosen and they should instead try to solve world hunger.

        Tfou 3lik!


      • So, let me get this right. You’re saying that the right to break the fast in public during Ramadan is MORE important than the right to feed your children or assure their basic needs?

        I’m not telling anyone what to do. I’m just suggesting that if activists really want to help the community, and they want to be as effective as possible, they should start by finding out what the community considers to be its own priorities.

        What’s shameless about that?

        I’m not Moroccan, but I know enough Moroccans to say with confidence that changing their religion is far from the minds of most people. I personally believe that anyone should have the right to choose her religion, but if you held a referendum in Morocco today, “Should Morocco stop calling itself a Muslim nation,” do you think it would win? Me neither.

        Meanwhile, young people are taking things into their hands and expanding the boundaries of personal freedom in their daily lives. I know an awful lot of young people who don’t pray, who have girlfriends or boyfriends, who drink sometimes, who break the Ramadan fast, and a few who have left Islam altogether and are quite open about it, at least with their friends. So what’s the big deal?

        It even seems to me that the state is doing its best to encourage this trend, through summer festivals, Studio 2M, tolerance of permissive lifestyles, and all kinds of stimulus in the media encouraging pleasure seeking among the youth. Friends of mine think this is being done precisely to distract young people from what some of us consider the real problems — things like poverty, unemployment, public corruption, lack of transparency, the pathetic state of the education system, and unhealthy living conditions. It’s the classic “bread and circuses” approach pioneered by the Roman Empire.

        You don’t need to share my priorities. If you don’t want to help some mother feed her children because you care more about your personal freedoms, that’s fine with me. But don’t expect her to care much about your freedoms, either. On the other hand, if you’ve helped clean up your neighborhood garden, taught computer skills to young people, or helped an illiterate person deal with the heartless bureaucracy, those people you helped might be more willing to stick up for your personal freedoms, even if they don’t agree.

        My point is that we can all go further together if we start by asking, “What can I do to help my neighbor?” instead of “What’s in it for me?”


      • I agree with what Mahdi is saying as well. I think the biggest benefit of online activism in Morocco has been in the cases of Bashir Hazzem (our contributor) and Fouad Mourtada; that is to say, to utilize the Internet to draw international attention to these cases, and not letting the world forget them. But, generally speaking, online activism in Morocco is mostly helpful in coordinating activities, not in getting anything real done.


  3. “So, let me get this right. You’re saying that the right to break the fast in public during Ramadan is MORE important than the right to feed your children or assure their basic needs?”

    Are you stupid or just pretending? You can’t fathom that the first is a right and not the other? You have the right to work hard and buy your children food. But the state has no obligation to feed your starving children because you ended up having too many of them.

    Would you have told Occidental homosexuals of the old days that they should have dropped their fight against prosecution in the name of some the starving children? Would you have told civil right activists in the US of the 60s that they have no business asking to be treated as equals while there’s a working mother who’s not getting taken care of by the state? And since when is the right to choose one’s faith decided upon in a popular referendum?

    You’re a morally bankrupt person, and you should be ashamed of that! Tfou 3lik!


    • Dear Samira,

      Please be as respectfull to eatbees as he is to you, don’t mix ideas confrontation (what Talk Morocco is all about to encourage) with personnal attacks

      your “Tfou 3lik” is just making people blind to all what’s interesting in your comment.

      Thank you :)


      • In what world is eatbees respectful towards me? He quite clearly tells me that I should waive my right to choose a faith (and thus, be able to eat in public) because there’s some malnourished child somewhere. This is as disrespectful as it can get. Especially coming from somebody who has more rights than I do in my own country simply because he’s not Moroccan.

        I’m not here to open the eyes of people. If someone wishes to overlook my comment because I’m not about to talk nicely to a bleeding-heart bigot, I couldn’t care less. What matters is that this poor excuse for a human being understands how strongly some Moroccans feel about them being obligated to hide to drink a glass of water. May be next time he wants to address a Moroccan in condescending terms (namely, that we shouldn’t be concerned about fundamental rights like freedom of religion) he’ll think twice before doing so.

        I hear shit goes down well with a dish of bees.


      • @samira/malika (you seem to be the same person)

        You’re completely misreading what I’m saying. Where did I tell you to drop your struggle? You’re the one dismissing the rights of others to have their daily bread. And I’m not saying the state should feed them, merely provide the conditions of development that will allow them to feed themselves better. “The right to work hard” is a cynical statement in a society where many families struggle to get by on $100 or $200 a month!

        In the early days of the gay rights struggle, Harvey Milk won points with the truck drivers’ union, not his usual constituency, by supporting their struggle against Coors Beer. And they supported him after that, as he won his battles to be the first elected gay public official in U.S. history, and defeat a law that would have forced gay teachers out of their jobs. This is a perfect example of the sort of coalition building and grassroots activism I was talking about, and I could give examples from the black civil rights movement as well.

        I support your right to choose your religion (of course), or to have none at all. And I support your right to choose your priorities. I merely raised a general question about “Where do we start?” in a society with more than its share of concrete problems. You chose to turn it into a personal attack on my character. That’s your right too, but it’s not a great way to make friends for your cause.


  4. @eatbees:

    Did you just compare the state of individual freedoms in today’s Morocco to that of Milk’s era USA? Does your disingenuity know no bounds? Sodomy is a CRIME in today’s Morocco, which had not been the case for ages before Milk. The latter was fighting to change the public’s perception of gays, not against state persecution. And he was doing so in a secular country that has what may just be the world’s most freedom-dedicated constitution. But blinded by your moral relativism, you can’t see that. If Israel was forcing little Moshe and Rachel to respect the Shabbat, you’d be all over its ass calling it the most horrendous names. But when a bunch of Muslims do that, you rationalize it in the most despicable way (i.e: it’s OK ’cause the majority wants it). I don’t know if you’re plain stupid or just pretending to be, but you more than deserve to be spat on. To compare Morocco to the US in the domain of individual freedoms, you’d have to go back to the 19th century, not in Harvey Milk’s era.

    You should learn to shut your yap about things that don’t concern you one bit. You sit there with your blue passport and the individual freedoms that
    goes with it and you dare pass judgement on my priorities. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on, you self-proclaimed two-bit intellectual! The day you’ll be stopped by cops for having a water bottle on you in Ramadan you can pass judgement on such issues. I tried to get a hotel room with my boyfriend once and the receptionist refused. When I raised my voice, he called the cops and we spent the night in jail. The shit we must put up with is fucking barbaric! Learn also to distinguish between medieval institutionalized religious persecution and the more modern attempts to change public perception on certain issues.

    Take a clue from Jill, who I’m sure is itching to play mitigator to my discourse but refrains because she hasn’t experience state persection over religious beliefs and knows better than to pass judgement on people who have. Shame on you!


    • @mounir

      At the time that Harvey Milk was alive, sodomy was still a crime with a prison penalty in several states. That was only done away with for good in the 1990s, in a 5-4 Supreme Court decision. The famous Stonewall incident that set off the gay rights revolution happened in the 1960s, when police raided a gay bar in New York City and arrested everyone who was there. Gays moved to San Francisco precisely because it was one of the few tolerant outposts. We still have right-wing Christians today who would love to roll back everything that was won.

      I personally don’t like the idea of an Islamic state, or a Jewish state, or the banning of minarets in Switzerland or the veil in France. My consistent view is that each individual should have the right to practice any religion he or she chooses, or none at all. But Morocco is a conservative society and that isn’t going to change easily. It’s not just the state, it’s the people. It’s a society where people feel it’s their religious duty to “correct” those who step out of line. I’m sure that the state is more afraid of Islamic conservatives who want things to be even more restrictive than they are now, than it is of those like yourself who are demanding more freedom. The laws are there because the state’s role as “defender of Islamic values” is what gives it legitimacy in the eyes of the right wing. The state’s compromise with young people wanting more freedom is to avoid enforcing the laws most of the time. It’s a hypocritical situation, but what do you suggest? These struggles usually take a long time, because society has to change from within.

      Anyway you’re right, I have no right to judge you, and I’m sorry if I came across as judgmental. Best of luck to you, mounir, and courage in any fight you choose.


      • “At the time that Harvey Milk was alive, sodomy was still a crime with a prison penalty in several states.”

        Don’t be an idiot! Sodomy encompassed heterosexual intercourse as well as homosexual. And it was in a S-E-C-U-L-A-R country!!!!!!!!!11!! In the end, Harvey Milk had the law on his side because of that. Not because of sucking up to unions.

        “I personally don’t like the idea of an Islamic state, or a Jewish state”

        There you go again thinking it’s ok to compare the state of civil liberties in an Islamic state to THE Jewish state (we all know what you mean, you Jew-obsessed prick). For those of us living in reality, minorities are thriving in Israel while they’re voting with their feet all over the Islamic world.

        “It’s a society where people feel it’s their religious duty to “correct” those who step out of line.”

        Thanks for the scoop. How is that relevant to the society being wrong?

        “The state’s compromise with young people wanting more freedom is to avoid enforcing the laws most of the time. It’s a hypocritical situation, but what do you suggest?”

        So Mr. Westerner is telling the morros that they should thank the heavens for all the autocracy and oppression because of some potential Islamic conservatism threat…how convenient! I’m not terrorized by the bearded Allah-crazed crowd like you are. I’ll deal with them when that happens. Meanwhile, we have to put up with the current Islamist regime. Here. Now. Stop rationalizing medieval shit on the grounds that it could get worse.

        “These struggles usually take a long time, because society has to change from within.”

        Fuck you! When your ass is on the line, you get a say. Meanwhile, Rosa Parks didn’t wait for everybody to get food on their table or for mentalities to evolve. Societies don’t change by them self, brave people actually have to step up and challenge their rotten ideas and you should not be telling them to wait with their struggle for civil liberties until all children are properly fed, capisce?

        Further; you were mocking the idea of getting out and eating in public on Ramadan, i can see it before me how you would mock Rosa Parks for demonstratively sitting in the “wrong” part of the bus. I know you would say that that is something else; that Rosa Parks’ act was a symbolic one displaying all the injustices towards black people but isn’t the Ramadan-thing exactly the same???

        “Anyway you’re right, I have no right to judge you, and I’m sorry if I came across as judgmental.”

        I don’t need you to apologize for that. I need you to stop rationalizing state persecution of minorities with the starving child image. It’s as low as it gets.


      • Without stating my own opinions on the matter, Mounir, I’m going to request that you stop with the insults, and with the switching of identities. I can see, as Eatbees suggested, from your IP addresses, that you, Malika, and Samira, are in fact one person. Why do you feel the need to use three different identities to hold a conversation here? I think this is a worthy debate, and I’m glad it’s happening, but why does it have to happen at the expense of decency?


      • @Jill:

        It’s your prerogative to request that, Miss Mod. And I’ll argue that netetiquette is (almost grossly) irrelevant because Moroccan citizens do not enjoy freedom of speech on the issues tackled here. Please go back to the beginning of the thread to read my tempered first post and eatbee’s reaction to it. Telling me that I should plant trees instead of alluding to separation of powers or a secular state, when I’m not even guaranteed the freedom to ask for such things is indecent.

        As for multiple screen-names, I have more computers that I can count on this LAN. And I point out who’s who where the issue may potentially start to hinder the reader/commentator’s comprehension.

        There was a time – pre-May’03 – when the Makhzen was more tolerant of dissident and secular voices. That time is long gone now, and the impetus is at a standstill. Is it so outrageous of me to rebut an American who perpetuates the old and tired Makhzen’s position that democratic reform should not be on the Moroccan priorities’ list? I don’t mince words, and the purpose is to get eatbees to snap out of it! Were I to sugar-coat my feelings, the message I’m trying to convey would end up all distorted. Eatbees’ intentions are good, but the consequences of his views are catastrophic for me and the people in my situation. You see, he/she would argue that Iraqis were better off under Saddam or the Afghans under Taliban rule. And while it is more than fair to condemn foreign military intervention in Muslim lands, he lacks data to accurately judge the level of oppression and repression dissident voices face. I’m not talking about things that you can pick as a adult foreigner — no matter how much time you spend in the country. I’m talking about a plethora of insidious “details” (détails de taille, as we say in French) that end up defining the individual and the society. His/her standpoint is a knee-jerk reaction to the Coulter/Limbaugh crowd. He/she is polarized as a result of that. People like eatbees fail to take into account that there is censorship on every level of our society. Because they can’t see or hear alternative viewpoints in Morocco, they faultily conclude that democracy or secularism are not on the Moroccan’s mind. The same way they would point out that Israel-bad/Palestine-good because they can hear anti-Zionist voices in Israel but they can’t hear anti-Islamist voices in Gaza. Guess what? You can’t hear the latter because they have either been murdered or have fled.

        And then there’s the classical argument that Moroccan society is not ready for change, which doesn’t withstand even the most cursory scrutiny. Under the pretense that we’ll descend into chaos and the Islamists will take over, progressivist thought and action is stifled. This is how I interpreted eatbees’ reply. It is reminiscent of the well-meaning Americans of the 50-60s who were suggesting that, maybe the civil rights movement should tone it down because the KKK threatened to lynch people in reprisal of protests against Jim Crow laws (and they ended up lynching a lot!). They phrased their objections as carefully as eatbees is doing here. Eatbees thus only sees the hole in the barn door.

        Look around. Do you see public debate telling it as it is on anything that matters? My impression (however biased it may be) is that there’s complete silence on what matters. You hear debates about a high-speed train, about soda subsidies, about Europe banning veils, and about interpretation of charia law. Can you really blame me for going after eatbees the way I did? I don’t want to spend time deconstructing his American leftist post-colonial (I want to say kool-aid drinking, but I’ll refrain) perspective. I’d rather focus on smacking down the crowd arguing for letting religion meddle into politics. I’ll bet you that eatbees gets all up in arms over creationism being taught in American schools as science. And yet, he comes here double-standard a-blazin’ rationalizing what is a thousand times worse.

        Please take the time to digest this. “Free” discussion on “what matters” should be able to tolerate the occasional F word. Otherwise, you go back to being just another blog (as collective as it may be). The fact that you interact with eatbees on a personal level should not cloud your ethics. You know better.

        If you want to stay out of here, all you have to do is ask. But beware that you’ll end up with comments that are mostly self-congratulatory and a global sense of complacency. In a perfect world, I would wholeheartedly agree with the fact that an insult-free environment fosters constructive debate. But Morocco is as far from that it gets. Things that were common 2-3 centuries ago in the West are still seen as revolutionary ideas. I believe you should be a littre bit looser on the netetiquette aspects when the intent is so obvious. You can’t transpose recent societal constructs of free societies onto a country where the most basic freedoms are still trampled. You should see how pro-Makhzen or pro-Islamist Arabic and French forums and blogs allow the most heinous comments and personal attacks when it suits them. They’re even worse that official speech of these organs! I’m not saying two wrongs make a right, but it would be nice to have a sanctuary that levels the playing field. if anything, that was TalkMorocco’s raison d’être. And that’s not even excluding the fact that I may just be naive…on oh so many levels.

        Most respectfully,


      • Samira,

        Thanks for your comment. I can only speak for myself, but I’d much prefer you stay (and hey, even contribute an essay if you want), and I certainly don’t mind if you use the F word. At the same time, I think certain personal attacks hinder the willingness of others to continue with the conversation, and I would rather all things get said than not said. I hope you understand my perspective.

        I’m going to come back and comment on content later; I feel like I need another read-through of the conversation first.


      • “So Mr. Westerner is telling the morros that they should thank the heavens for all the autocracy and oppression….”

        No, I didn’t, I said, “What do you suggest?”


  5. You corrected by yourself that mounir is samira.


    • No, I said malika is samira, because malika said “In what world is eatbees respectful towards me?” and I’d been addressing samira. So now you are mounir? All three of you are the only persons/people on this thread who are trash talking me, and mounir is now picking up where samira and malika left off (“mitigator to MY discourse”). Do you have multiple personalities, or what?


  6. And I suggested that you stay out of it and stop rationalizing persecution. This is between Moroccans and their state. If all you’re going to do is play down the oppression religious and sexual minorities have to deal with, you kindly go fuck yourself. A Westerner telling an oppressed Moroccan what his/her priorities should be is arrogance at its best.

    Get it now?


  7. Interesting practical solutions for NGOs to avoid uneficient use of web tools are presented in the latest article on Hisham’s Blog as an answer to my relatively skeptical essay öÖ :
    http://almiraatblog.wordpress.com/2010/06/27/barcamp-paris-web-2-0-as-a-means-to-foster-social-innovation/

    to all, please keep respctfull discussion, nobody is giving lessons to anyone here, and every one has the right to comment on the subject without regard to nationality!


  8. It’s your prerogative to request that, Miss Mod. And I’ll argue that netetiquette is (almost grossly) irrelevant because Moroccan citizens do not enjoy freedom of speech on the issues tackled here. Please go back to the beginning of the thread to read my tempered first post and eatbee’s reaction to it. Telling me that I should plant trees instead of alluding to separation of powers or a secular state, when I’m not even guaranteed the freedom to ask for such things is indecent.

    As for multiple screen-names, I have more computers that I can count on this LAN. And I point out who’s who where the issue may potentially start to hinder the reader/commentator’s comprehension.

    There was a time – pre-May’03 – when the Makhzen was more tolerant of dissident and secular voices. That time is long gone now, and the impetus is at a standstill. Is it so outrageous of me to rebut an American who perpetuates the old and tired Makhzen’s position that democratic reform should not be on the Moroccan priorities’ list? I don’t mince words, and the purpose is to get eatbees to snap out of it! Were I to sugar-coat my feelings, the message I’m trying to convey would end up all distorted. Eatbees’ intentions are good, but the consequences of his views are catastrophic for me and the people in my situation. You see, he/she would argue that Iraqis were better off under Saddam or the Afghans under Taliban rule. And while it is more than fair to condemn foreign military intervention in Muslim lands, he lacks data to accurately judge the level of oppression and repression dissident voices face. I’m not talking about things that you can pick as a adult foreigner — no matter how much time you spend in the country. I’m talking about a plethora of insidious “details” (détails de taille, as we say in French) that end up defining the individual and the society. His/her standpoint is a knee-jerk reaction to the Coulter/Limbaugh crowd. He/she is polarized as a result of that. People like eatbees fail to take into account that there is censorship on every level of our society. Because they can’t see or hear alternative viewpoints in Morocco, they faultily conclude that democracy or secularism are not on the Moroccan’s mind. The same way they would point out that Israel-bad/Palestine-good because they can hear anti-Zionist voices in Israel but they can’t hear anti-Islamist voices in Gaza. Guess what? You can’t hear the latter because they have either been murdered or have fled.

    And then there’s the classical argument that Moroccan society is not ready for change, which doesn’t withstand even the most cursory scrutiny. Under the pretense that we’ll descend into chaos and the Islamists will take over, progressivist thought and action is stifled. This is how I interpreted eatbees’ reply. It is reminiscent of the well-meaning Americans of the 50-60s who were suggesting that, maybe the civil rights movement should tone it down because the KKK threatened to lynch people in reprisal of protests against Jim Crow laws (and they ended up lynching a lot!). They phrased their objections as carefully as eatbees is doing here. Eatbees thus only sees the hole in the barn door.

    Look around. Do you see public debate telling it as it is on anything that matters? My impression (however biased it may be) is that there’s complete silence on what matters. You hear debates about a high-speed train, about soda subsidies, about Europe banning veils, and about interpretation of charia law. Can you really blame me for going after eatbees the way I did? I don’t want to spend time deconstructing his American leftist post-colonial (I want to say kool-aid drinking, but I’ll refrain) perspective. I’d rather focus on smacking down the crowd arguing for letting religion meddle into politics. I’ll bet you that eatbees gets all up in arms over creationism being taught in American schools as science. And yet, he comes here double-standard a-blazin’ rationalizing what is a thousand times worse.

    Please take the time to digest this. “Free” discussion on “what matters” should be able to tolerate the occasional F word. Otherwise, you go back to being just another blog (as collective as it may be). The fact that you interact with eatbees on a personal level should not cloud your ethics. You know better.

    If you want to stay out of here, all you have to do is ask. But beware that you’ll end up with comments that are mostly self-congratulatory and a global sense of complacency. In a perfect world, I would wholeheartedly agree with the fact that an insult-free environment fosters constructive debate. But Morocco is as far from that it gets. Things that were common 2-3 centuries ago in the West are still seen as revolutionary ideas. I believe you should be a littre bit looser on the netetiquette aspects when the intent is so obvious. You can’t transpose recent societal constructs of free societies onto a country where the most basic freedoms are still trampled. You should see how pro-Makhzen or pro-Islamist Arabic and French forums and blogs allow the most heinous comments and personal attacks when it suits them. They’re even worse that official speech of these organs! I’m not saying two wrongs make a right, but it would be nice to have a sanctuary that levels the playing field. if anything, that was TalkMorocco’s raison d’être. And that’s not even excluding the fact that I may just be naive…on oh so many levels.

    Most respectfully,


  9. alliflbattaatayjjiml7ahalkhaddaladalharrazzaitta

    Out of respect to Mahdi first, then to the two commentators, I read everything; and let me say that I am ENRAGED!!! Mostly because Mahdi did a great article (aside from the Graph Theory part) that you commentators didn’t learn anything from. Yet, you made me get it at least.
    Let me make a disclaimer before I carry on. Pardon me for being a little arrogant and offensive. Because I know some people here, whom I will not name, who can easily get real offended.
    I’m sorry this was the fun part where I am provocative and let’s move to the serious discussion. Remember those long facebook conversations Mahdi mentioned, well if you didn’t notice, this just turned out to be one of them. No sorry, this one is on TalkMorocco, and therfore isn’t the same. How many people do you think read this overstretched conversation? It turned to a battlefield. What’s bad in that is you forgot to talk about digital activism. What’s not quite bad on the other hand is that you did a great demonstration. I don’t know for others, but don’t feel like the debate is leading anywhere, of course unless one finds that ill-manners are constructive. I wonder if one day by any chance one becomes part of this Makhzen that he criticizes so much, I wonder if he’ll remember his political positions inspired from his aspiration for freedom and human rights. I would love to see how he explains things then. It’ll come to the notion of priorities I guess . Everyone knows how many people swung round their two-side jacket, as Mahdi says.
    Thank you for reading and by the way if you think it is crap, then it may comfort you if, as we say in Morocco, you spread it over your face. This is not inappropriate and I am trying as much as I can not to say go fuck yourself. Oops! I finally did! Freedom of speech prevailed.


    • What’s bad in that is you forgot to talk about digital activism. What’s not quite bad on the other hand is that you did a great demonstration.

      Thanks “alliflbattaata” for bringing us back on topic!

      I agree that Mahdi did a great post. I like how he was willing to take a contrarian view, showing the insularity of digital activism instead of just praising it.

      I think some of the “praisers” had great posts too, but Mahdi was unique on TM for taking the position he did, so thanks Mahdi for provoking our thoughts!

      I’m sorry we hijacked his thread for a perfect “demonstration” of his point :)


  10. @samira/malika/mounir:

    I’d given up on this conversation because I was tired of having my motives and intelligence insulted, and my right to an opinion questioned, but since you’ve given Jillian a calm, well-reasoned response unlike anything I got, I feel that I understand better now where the misunderstanding began (if that’s what it is), so I’ll try one more time.

    First, it was a mistake to frame my first comment on this thread as a reply to you, when it was more of a comment on the article itself, agreeing with Mahdi’s point about the insular world of online activism, and that grassroots activism is a more effective way to reach most Moroccans. I had no idea you’d interpret it as a frontal attack on your own priorities. I see no contradiction between your kind of activism and Mahdi’s, and both can exist simultaneously. It could even be the same person doing both. I was expressing my opinion about those priorities, and it would have been better if I’d addressed my ideas to Mahdi instead of to you.

    I think we actually agree about more than you think we agree about, so it’s a shame that we got started this way. To be clear, I support religious and personal freedom in any country, separation of powers, government by and for the people, control of the military and police by a civil authority, the right of all individuals to due process and the presumption of innocence, etc., etc. There are three reasons I may not speak up for these things on Talk Morocco as strongly as I feel them: 1) I assume that everyone here already agrees, so there’s no need to keep going over it; 2) as a guest in Morocco, I am discreet in my criticism, and try to play by the local rules; and 3) I’ve been extremely disappointed in my own country’s practice of democracy in recent years, so I feel no bragging rights at all in applying these values to other nations.

    You assume a number of things about my views that just aren’t true. I’ll list a few of them here. “Democratic reform should not be on the Moroccan priorities’ list” — to the contrary, there can never be real development without real democracy; where did you get the idea that I feel otherwise? “People like eatbees fail to take into account that there is censorship on every level of our society” — I’m well aware of the censorship, and have felt its unpleasant weight myself — on the other hand, Moroccans are often bolder in expressing themselves to strangers than they are with each other, so I figure I’ve heard just about every point of view by now. “Moroccan society is not ready for change” — of course it is ready for change; it has a desperate need for change; and it is changing, although the state is working hard to channel that change for its own interests. “Under the pretense that we’ll descend into chaos and the Islamists will take over, progressivist thought and action is stifled” — I know this dynamic and find it indefensible — first, because Islamism doesn’t really scare me, and in its moderate form (i.e. Tariq Ramadan) I’m even supportive of it — and second, because fear of Islamism should never be an excuse to suppress freedom as the Turkish state used to do, or as Egypt does today; the same democratic principles should be applied both to progressives and Islamists, and I will defend the rights of both to participate in democracy with equal conviction.

    Finally, it’s obvious from some of your remarks that you’ve read my blog, and from what you’ve read, you seem to think that I’ve been “polarized” into an Israel bad/Palestine good mentality, meaning that I’m willing to be an apologist for everything Arab or Muslim. I don’t know where you got this straw man, but please burn it. It’s not fair to judge my views by only the most recent posts about Israel, because I haven’t been maintaining my blog regularly and the range of subjects isn’t as varied as it once was. So if you want a better sense of my views, go back to 2007 when I was working harder at it. Or just ask for my views on a subject instead of assuming — but please don’t go attributing views to me that I never had. Assuming “because eatbees believes X, he must believe Y, because all people who believe X believe Y” is foolish and irresponsible.

    One last thing, Jillian may think the F word is fine, but it upsets me. I’m not sure why you think it will make me wake up. I guess slapping a person will get them to wake up too, but I call it bullying. And if you’re bullying I may not want to listen carefully what you’re saying. It may make you feel better, but if your goal is to get me to reconsider my views, it’s going to backfire.

    Nevertheless, I agree with Jillian that you should try writing an essay for Talk Morocco, and I look forward to continuing our conversations if you’re so inclined — without the misplaced assumptions about what I believe, the bullying or the F words.


    • first, because Islamism doesn’t really scare me, and in its moderate form (i.e. Tariq Ramadan) I’m even supportive of it

      See…you just validated all my assumptions.

      Islamism doesn’t scare you because you don’t have to live with its consequences. I do. And so do all other Moroccans. You choose to live under an Islamic state when you come in to Morocco with a blue passeport.

      Tareq Ramadan mastery of double-speak is infamous, and you — all starry-eyed and unable to see totalitarianism for the evil it is — seem to be following in his footsteps. You can’t be for “religious and personal freedom” and at the same time “supportive” of Islamism. It’s an oxymoronic position to hold.

      What does “moderate” Islamism even mean? That blasphemy is devaluated from a crime to a misdemeanor? That the daughter inherits 5/8th of what the son inherits? That one is free to eat in Ramadan so long as they hide it? That so-called Muslim women (by birth, I mean) can marry non-Muslim men as long as they’re sterilized? I’m sorry to be the one bursting the bubble you’re living in, but you can’t make compromises with people who claim to hold The Truth.

      If you’re not opposed to religion getting mixed up with politics, then it’s no wonder you have planting trees as a priority. So, unless you’re one of those who have to live with Islamism, please refrain from commenting on it. It is not bullying to ask for a tiny bit of consistency. If you were forcibly affected by Islamism, you would get a say. I can’t be any clearer. And it is because I’ve given up on making you reconsider your views that I’m asking you to stay away from debates that don’t concern you. Unless you’re explicitly defending freedom from religion, equality and the like, don’t post. Because all you’ve done so far is rationalize an abhorrent system and justify horrors.


      • Samira,

        I’m glad we’ve finally gotten to the heart of where we disagree.

        I support the right of Islamists to participate in debate, elections, governance, and legislation, on one condition: that they accept the principle of multiparty democracy and the idea of political alternance, and recognize that authority in the political arena belongs to the people.

        Tariq Ramadan accepts these conditions, as does the Justice Party that presently governs Turkey — often called Islamist, though it is more correct to call it a party inspired by Islamic values, as Christian Democratic parties in Europe are inspired by Christian values. I’m opposed to religious “interference” in politics, but since the vast majority of humans are religious in one way or another, excluding religious values altogether from politics just can’t happen in a democratic system — in any culture.

        Here is a lengthy discussion of Tariq Ramadan, his message, his intended audience and his critics, written from a secular, Western perspective by an authority I admire, Mark Lynch. His view is that we need to see Ramadan’s discourse in context. By drawing mainstream Muslims away from salafi or wahhabi influence and towards democratic pluralism, he’s doing everyone a service.

        http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/66468/marc-lynch/veiled-truths?page=show

        I am obliged by my principles to support ALL voices in the democratic process, including Islamists, Zionists, right-wing Christians, Communists, Libertarians, militarists, racists, whatever — regardless of whether I agree with them — so long as they accept the ground rules of democracy as I outlined above. This doesn’t mean I agree with their political goals. It means I have no right to rig the game, claiming freedoms for myself that I’m unwilling to extend to everyone. It’s an application of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

        I feel that any attempt to exclude certain voices from participating because they are called Islamist (or Communist, etc.), is undemocratic. “Moderate, secular” dictatorships loved by the West (Turkey previously, Egypt or Tunisia today) exclude these voices not because they are guardians of democracy, but because political opposition is a threat to their monopoly on power. I’m sure you’re aware of the censorship, torture, and police surveillance that takes place in so many Arab nations, justified by the Islamist threat. I won’t assume you support such tactics, so I’ll ask you directly: Do you support these tactics in the name of preventing Islamists from coming to power? If yes, aren’t you denying freedom to others in the name of protecting your own freedom? If no, where do you draw the line against Islamists, differently from where I would draw it?

        You say these debate is no concern of mine, but it is, for three reasons. The first is personal, I have friends living in Morocco whose future is at stake, and I want them to experience democracy in their lifetimes. This goes for my Islamist-leaning friends as well as for my secular, atheist friends (I have both, and others who fall in between). The second is that these are universal values that apply everywhere, regardless of national borders. The third is that the way these issues are debated is having a corrosive effect on politics in my own country, the U.S. The sooner the Muslim world goes through the sort of democratic transition that swept Latin America and South Asia in the 1980s-90s, the sooner the U.S. will have to deal with the Middle East democratically rather than imposing its misconceptions from half a world away. Dealing with reality is always healthier than projecting one’s illusions onto the world, so it’s partly out of American patriotism than I hope for democracy in the Middle East!

        One final point, a definition of terms. You refer to the Moroccan state as Islamic, which is certainly true on paper — but in my view, the Moroccan state doesn’t govern the way it does because of Islam. It could be Catholic or Communist and have the same qualities. So I want to be clear that when I discuss Islamism, I’m not discussing the Moroccan state. By Islamist I mean everything from Islam-inspired movements that accept a pluralist system (the PJD in Morocco, Turkey’s governing party, Tariq Ramadan) through the Islamic Brotherhood and Hezbollah, all the way to rejectionists like Sayyid Qutb or Al Qaeda. I’ll say it again, my test of “good Islamists” is: Do they accept government based on the will of the people? Will they protect the rights of those who aren’t like them, and step down from power if they are rejected by popular vote? Maybe you feel there are no Islamists like that, but I know they exist. I see their participation as essential for democracy in the Muslim world.

        Those are my principles. Innocent or self-deluded you may call them — a double standard they are not. Indeed, they come precisely from wanting the same rights for my ideological “enemies” that I want for my friends.


  11. @eatbees:

    Well…there’s a huge difference between being supportive of Islamists and supporting the Islamists’ right to speak in public and run for office. Why do you think anyone would interpret the first as the second is beyond me. This is almost exactly the way Tareq Ramadan works his double-speak magic (I’ve had the displeasure of meeting the man in a reception, and he’s even less convincing in person).

    Anyway, this is called TalkMorocco and not TalkTunisia or TalkTurkey. And you know damn well that Islamists can say whatever the hell they want. It is the anti-Islamists who can’t speak their mind freely. We have special laws to punish people who say bad things about Allah, one of his deputies on earth (that’s from Mohamed Ibn Abdullah to Mohamed Ibn Hassan), or about Islam in general. The king is an Islamist. He doesn’t believe in secularism. The Makhzen is an Islamist institution too in that regard.

    And you come here, telling Moroccans that you are supportive of so-called moderate Islamism but that you really meant supportive of the right of so-called moderate Islamists to speak up. In a country where they are in power and they have the freedom to say whatever they want. Do you not see anything wrong with this picture?

    I mean…you can’t even admit that the lack of freedoms (freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to booze, freedom to screw, freedom to eat during Ramadan, equality of women, etc.) in Morocco is due to the government endorsement of Islam. Not only that, but you also feel the urge to defend the Islamists right to participate in government in a country where they are already in power.

    And in case you didn’t know, the Quran is considered by Muslims to be the word of god. Which is not the case for the New Testament. Therefore, your attempt to sell the Christian Democratic party template as one which Islamism could fit falls flat. I’ll be happy to discuss the comparative evolution of Christian Democratic parties around the world if you so wish. But the common thread is that those parties came to public sphere from a weakened position. Because, most often than not, religion was publicly and routinely demonized. And, they were more open to consensus because they didn’t hold that their sacred book were the literal word of god. And there’s no “render unto caesar…” in the Quran or the Hadith. There are countless threats of violence against people who dare speak their mind or convert to another religion.

    So…why do you feel the need to declare your support to Islamists? Do you think they’re not in power in Morocco? Do you think they risk jail-time for their convictions? Why, in your concern for your atheist Moroccan friend, do you not speak up against the reigning censorship?

    The more I hear from you, the more you confirm being nothing more than an “apologist for all things Arab and Muslim”.


    • Samira,

      I’m confused by your points. Though I must state that I agree in keeping Islam out of politics (as well as Christianity and Judaism, though I do recognize the difference), your views on how democracy in Morocco should work aren’t clear to me, namely because of your simultaneous condemnation of Baathism, etc (assuming I’ve read you correctly).

      Unlike Eatbees, I don’t subscribe to the “democracy at any cost” paradigm. Let me use an example from my own culture, since I’m more qualified to comment (and please, recognize that this is for the sake of example, not comparison). My fellow countrymen have repeatedly fought against freedoms for gay citizens, on the basis of “traditional” (read: Christian) family values. I’m tired of it, and want a system devoid of religion. I don’t feel the need to cater whatsoever to religious views that infringe upon the freedoms of others.

      Of course, I recognize that my views are only partly formed and somewhat unrealistic…so Samira, as someone who has undoubtedly thought about this a lot more than I have, and in the Moroccan context, what is the solution in your view?


      • The answer is quite simple: Constitutional rights (see the example of South Africa).

        In the USA’s case, an amendment seems necessary (but it may not be sufficient) to ensure gays are not discriminated against. Homosexual relations are today legal in all states. Granted, it was legal trickery to resort to the 14th amendment in Lawrence v. Texas, but it got the job done. As for the issue of same-sex “marriage”, it should be tackled by pushing for civil unions.

        In the case of Morocco, we have to start from the ground up: Freedom of speech. Without that, religion can’t be pushed to the side like it was done in so many countries (and so long ago). If we ain’t even have the right to talk about change, what the fuck we got?


      • Fair enough, though I disagree that “civil unions” present an equal solution to the fight for gay marriage. I’m surprised at you, Samira; for someone so opposed to religion, your differentiation of terms for heterosexual unions vs. homosexual ones shows some sort of religion-inspired traditionalism.


      • I should clarify that I am totally against the differentiation of terms for heterosexual unions vs. homosexuals. When I talk about “civil unions”, I didn’t mean in addition to marriage.


      • Fair enough then. So am I, in theory.


  12. I hope the author is eating his hat.

    Tunisians shredded his stupid theory to bits and pieces.


    • Samira/mounira/andwhatelse

      Tour comments are never worth answering with all the insults you use

      But before answering with a detailed piece on the role of Internet compared to the role of brave ground struggling Tunisian (may all the martyrs rest in peace :-( )

      I can have for you this short answer : you are so intelligent, outstanding brilliant to think that BenAli was thrown by non-connected-to-the-ground-ivory-digital-activists

      Ask Lina Benmhenni, the brave girl who dared reporting from the ground, and compare to your “fight for freedom in morocco” through blog “intelligent” and respectful comments.

      one day you will learn how to comment without childy insults.

      Best regards.


    • and read first the article to see how irrelevant your comment was…

      but I am not responsible for people who are unable to read and understand but just feel the need to open their mouths before opening their eirs…


    • note: i corrected an unfinished sentence after first hitting publish!

      Sorry, Samira, but there’s no evidence to suggest that this was a revolution of weak ties. Though it’s certainly possible that Facebook (or Twitter) was used to organize, there was no widespread use of either tool for large-scale organizing (though as I noted on my own blog, technology surely plays a part via SMS, e-mail, instant messaging, etc), and a number of Tunisians have stated that the majority of protesters were likely unaware of the online mobilization.

      Nevertheless, we can all see that social media certainly helped in disseminating information to folks outside the country, including to the media (perhaps in a more reliable and controlled manner than during the Iran protests of 2009), and that more of the world (and most of the Arab world, which certainly benefited from Al Jazeera’s excellent coverage) turning its attention to Tunisia was a good thing.


  13. http://cialisventa-es.com/#9900 cialis generico ordino [url=http://cialisventa-es.com/#0187]Cialis Venta Es[/url] xex tadalafil


  14. tcumdubmlnpspddp, 50-one electronic cigarette, wtOMTvz, [url=http://jerseyjudicialnetwork.com/]Electronic cigarette starter[/url], lGhfaki, http://jerseyjudicialnetwork.com/ Electronic Cigarette, OIoOVDT.


  15. cfamcubmlnpspddp, Stendra, OLhMGfu, [url=http://mybtaraf.com/]Stendra online[/url], CDpJcDi, http://mybtaraf.com/ What makes stendra any better than viagra?, mtGQuKO.


  16. gsfmyubmlnpspddp, Tadalafil best price, vPGoylC, [url=http://www.talkinghandsasl.com/]Order tadalafil[/url], TnCCWYF, http://www.talkinghandsasl.com/ Buy tadalafil online, yGZAEaN.


  17. atwbqubmlnpspddp, Modafinil, lMPPoWr, [url=http://www.asca2010.com/judges.html]Modafinil depression[/url], DVQsljV, http://www.asca2010.com/judges.html Modafinil, KBiGIca.


  18. Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back often!


  19. YuxcBCPX [url=http://canadagooseuksale.eu]Canada Goose Parka Uk[/url]
    cyzaTUNwx http://www.originaluggbootsschweiz.eu
    etspaigvws [url=http://www.uggsinbelgie.eu/#3851]Uggs Outlet[/url]
    PFQlSzaan cvxloq [url=http://www.originaluggbootsschweiz.eu]Ugg Boots[/url]
    UduXXXEAkzu TurvACEK [url=http://canadagooseuksale.eu]Canada Goose Parka Uk[/url]
    qpacIZJqx HatkUFFN http://canadagooseuksale.eu
    wenqFKBhz


  20. Wоw that ωas unusual. I just ωгоtе an extгеmеlу long comment but after I clickeԁ ѕubmіt my сomment ԁidn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not ωritіng all that οver again.
    Anyhow, ϳuѕt wantеd to sаy supеrb blog!


  21. gemtkubmlnpspddp, Casino online poker video, gMQHuUo, [url=http://www.casinomore.net/]Casino Online[/url], STQfhdp, http://www.casinomore.net/ Casino Online, bVnxEkb.


  22. hmjcnubmlnpspddp, Casino online for fun, nsOdEhn, [url=http://onlinecasinoprize.com/]Free casino online gambling[/url], FgTQIIz, http://onlinecasinoprize.com/ Craps casino online, ajLLwPL.


  23. wdvjrubmlnpspddp, Poker Online, gxMuQsl, [url=http://mhl-hockey.com/]Play straight poker online[/url], CbiNFeD, http://mhl-hockey.com/ Giochi poker online, CshwXxU.


  24. bhbmdubmlnpspddp, Washington state lottery results, VLkAyTf, [url=http://buggalove.com/]Lottery Results[/url], NEsPPua, http://buggalove.com/ Washington state lottery results, YRkGraF.


  25. oguzdubmlnpspddp, Locksmith san francisco yelp, YavCikV, [url=http://dungeoncrawlthemovie.com/]San Francisco CA Locksmith[/url], zNqydIl, http://dungeoncrawlthemovie.com/ San Francisco Locksmith, XFFDutj.


Leave a comment:

You can use the following XHTML tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.


Pingbacks

Swirly cluster